MissionTo connect youth waiting in foster care with the adults who become stable forces in their lives, and to support those relationships so that they last for a lifetime.
What We DoRaise the Future (F.K.A. The Adoption Exchange) was founded in 1983 in Colorado by child welfare advocates seeking to fill a substantial void in the child welfare system and to enhance permanency (a legally permanent, nurturing family for every youth) and stability in the lives of youth in foster care. The youth we serve are the longest-waiting in foster care and have experienced years of instability. Without help, the youth are likely to emancipate out of the system and experience staggeringly high rates of mental health issues, incarceration, poverty, homelessness, unintended pregnancies, interrupted educations, and crime. Only 23% of the nation's foster youth graduate high school on time, and 20% will be homeless instantly upon emancipation from foster care. Each year, more than 20,000 youth emancipate from the foster care system without being adopted. Each youth who ages out will cost society over $300,000 in his or her lifetime in lost wages, public benefits, and incarceration.
Raise the Future utilizes evidence-based models to help youth find and sustain positive, lifelong connections with loving adults. To best serve the longest- waiting youth, Raise the Future developed a holistic permanency-focused model to find and keep at least one caring adult in each child's life. Through permanency, youth waiting in foster care can focus on healing instead of being forced to continually adapt to changes. The model combines multiple programs into one streamlined model that helps find the right family for each youth - the first time - and makes the connection last. Additionally, Raise the Future provides a suite of support services to youth and families to stabilize relationships and promote healing.
Raise the Future seeks to change the future for youth in foster care by providing services that increase their chances of adoption and lifelong permanency. To do this, Raise the Future aims to fully scale our programs in the next two years so that 100% of eligible foster youth in Colorado, Utah, and Nevada have the best chance at a bright future. By finding permanent homes for youth in foster care, Raise the Future can end the cycle of abuse, neglect and negative outcomes that is perpetuated when youth age out of foster care without the stability of a family. Goals for success are to 1) Reduce the time youth spend in the foster care system; 2) Ensure every youth has a permanent adult connection before leaving the system; and 3) Ensure those connections last. Youth who are adopted 110% more likely to go to college, are 200% more likely to seek treatment for mental and emotional health problems, and have 75% higher incomes over their lifetimes.